This species is listed as Near Threatened because forest cover has declined steadily to the point that the area of available suitable habitat within its range is now moderately small and fragmented. Ongoing declines are suspected as, despite a moratorium imposed on clearing forest within Sri Lanka's wet zone, habitat loss continues.
Distribution and populationZoothera spiloptera
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
is an endemic resident in southern Sri Lanka
. It occurs mainly in the wet zone of the island and although its range is highly restricted it is locally common within it. Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as fairly common to common (del Hoyo et al. 2005).Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation (del Hoyo et al. 2005).Ecology
It favours lowlands and hills of the wet zone from 300-1,220 m. It inhabits the leaf-litter of damp, dense, wooded areas and occasionally gardens near forest, also occurring sporadically in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, although there are no recent records from this part of the island. It is apparently most abundant in primary habitat, and although also recorded in selectively logged forest, forest edges or near tea cultivation and scrub, it may be dependent on relatively intact forest remaining nearby. It forages for terrestrial invertebrates, spending c.90% of time on the ground during the day, but will also sally for insects in the air. It breeds in March-May and July-January. Threats
Forest on the island has suffered rapid degradation and fragmentation in past decades through excessive gathering of fuelwood, clearance for permanent agriculture, shifting cultivation, fire, urbanisation and logging. Closed-canopy forest is estimated to have declined from 29,000 km2
(44% of the island's area) in 1956 to 12,260 km2
in 1983. It is feared that this loss will continue and the status of this species therefore requires monitoring. Conservation actions underway
A moratorium was passed in 1990 to protect wet zone forests from logging, but encroachment continues. It occurs in several national parks and forest reserves. A survey of the biodiversity of 200 forest sites was carried out from 1991-1996. Conservation actions proposed
Protect areas of lowland forest within the species's range. Enforce restrictions on logging and agricultural encroachment within wet zone forests. Generate density estimates to inform a revised population estimate for the species.
Collar, N. J. 2005. Family Turdidae (Thrushes). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Christie, C. (eds), Handbook of birds of the world Vol. 10, pp. 514-807. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Clement, P.; Hathway, R. 2000. Thrushes. Christopher Helm, London.
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).
View photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Khwaja, N.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Zoothera spiloptera. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/06/2013.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/06/2013.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000)
Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004)
Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.
Additional resources for this species